Swedish forward Rickard Rakell was a last-minute addition to his team’s national roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey – but as pretournament games get under way, it’s hard to tell whether or not he’ll be ready to play in Sweden’s next game.
It was reported on Sunday evening that Rakell, who has one assist through the only pretournament game he’s appeared in so far, is ‘back home in the hospital with an unspecified illness, according to coach Rikard Gronbrog’.
This news, reported by ESPN’s Joe McDonald, came with the news that the team isn’t sure what is wrong with the skater – who was left behind when Sweden traveled to Washington, DC to have more tests done. Rakell missed Sweden’s second of two games played thus far with the mysterious illness.
A first round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, Rakell is one of a handful of young players who is currently at the World Cup of Hockey without a contract for his upcoming 2016-17 season. He, along with names like Johnny Gaudreau, Tobias Rieder, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Nikita Kucherov, will all be skating at the tournament in hopes of giving their respective NHL clubs one final look at their play before signing them to new deals as restricted free agents.
If he’s out sick, though, that may be kind of difficult.
Team Sweden next plays in pretournament action on Wednesday, September 14th, when they face Team Europe – so hopefully whatever is ailing the forward will have passed by that point. If it’s something serious enough to hold him out until past Wednesday, though, the question may become whether or not Sweden needs to replace him again – and if he’ll be healthy enough to attend the start of training camp for the Ducks, assuming they get him signed to a new deal in time for that.